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Reasonable Expectations Doctrine

What is a Reasonable Expectations Doctrine?

The Reasonable Expectations Doctrine, also known as the Reasonable Expectation Doctrine, may refer to a legal principle that is used in insurance law. It is based on the notion that when people purchase insurance, they do so in reliance on certain reasonable expectations about the coverage and benefits that they will receive. The doctrine holds that insurers should not be allowed to deny coverage or benefits that are not explicitly excluded in the policy language.

Reasonable Expectations Doctrine in More Detail

In simple terms, the Reasonable Expectations Doctrine requires insurers to honor the reasonable expectations of their policyholders. This means that even if the language in the policy is not explicit, the insurer must provide coverage or benefits that are reasonably expected by the policyholder.

For example, if a policyholder purchases a health insurance policy that does not explicitly state that it covers dental care, but it is reasonable to expect that it would cover such care, then the insurer would be required to provide coverage for the dental care.

The Reasonable Expectations Doctrine has been used in a number of insurance cases over the years. It has been used to counteract overly restrictive policy language that could be interpreted in such a way as to exclude coverage or benefits that the policyholder may have reasonably expected to receive.

The doctrine is premised on the idea that insurance companies should not be allowed to take advantage of policyholders. It provides an important reminder that insurers must honor the reasonable expectations of their policyholders when providing coverage and benefits.